New Community Arts Opportunities

Posted on May 30, 2019

Announcing the Expansion of our Community Arts Program!

The Community Arts program is the Zellerbach Family Foundation’s longest-running grantmaking program, seeking to support Bay Area artists and ensure access to the arts for Bay Area audiences. For nearly 40 years, the program has supported artists in the creation or presentation of their individual projects. After a recent period of research and learning, we are updating and expanding the program to better meet the needs of our grant partners and the arts community.

Over the past couple of years, we have met with grantees and other funders, and conducted community surveys as well as field and data analyses. What we learned is that today’s artists and arts organizations need a broader range of support; in response, the foundation is expanding its Community Arts program model to include three new grantmaking opportunities. We will now offer Stability, Collaboration and Training grants, in addition to the traditional Project grants, to better meet the varying and changing needs of Bay Area artists and arts organizations. The four different grant opportunities will provide the following support:

Project/Risk: Bolsters the ability of artists and arts organizations to take risks, to challenge their capacity as artists, and to challenge the expectations of their audiences. For emerging artists and new organizations with little infrastructure, a Project grant will likely be the best fit.

Stability: Creates financially secure organizations and ensures their ability to think strategically for long-term vitality. An organization that is in a growth moment and needs to subsidize a new position or whose rent has recently increased may simply need the Stability of a general operating support grant.

Collaboration: Increases creative collaboration between and among artists and arts organizations to imagine creative projects, address common problems, and share resources. When multiple organizations come together to create something larger than what they could do on their own – either artistically (a multidisciplinary presentation) or administratively (space-sharing initiatives or an audience development project) – a Collaboration grant makes the most sense.

Training: Encourages education, training, and learning for artists and administrators to build organizational capacity and promote acquisition of skills to grow as practitioners. If there is an opportunity to engage in a professional development, cohort learning or mentorship program, a Training grant would assist in facilitating that opportunity.

Grant guidelines:

All Community Arts grants are made to individual artists and small to mid-sized arts organizations in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, working in the fields of dance, music, theater, visual arts, literary arts and festivals. Applications are created online in open submission periods four times per year in March, June, September and December. Please note, the formal launch of the expanded model will take place in September 2019.

The application process and guidelines for the Stability, Collaboration and Training grants are as follows:

  • To be eligible for these grants, organizations must have a five-year funding history with the foundation (not necessarily consecutive years) and must have received funding at least once in the past three years.
  • Stability grant requests are determined by the size of organization; typical range is between $,7500 and $15,000 per year.
  • Collaboration and Training grant requests are determined by the scale and scope of project; typical range is between $10,000 and $25,000 per year.
  • For Stability, Collaboration and Training applications, eligible applicants will submit a Letter of Inquiry stating their request for funding. LOI’s will be reviewed by foundation staff; based on available funds and program alignment, invited applicants will submit a full application. Full applications will be evaluated by foundation staff.
  • Final approval on all grants are made by the foundation board of directors.

The application process for the Project grants will remain unchanged:

  • Applicants may apply for up to $10,000.
  • Applications will be reviewed by foundation staff for eligibility and then evaluated by a panel of peer artists who make funding recommendations.
  • Final approval on all grants are made by the foundation board of directors.

We hope that the newly expanded Community Arts program deepens our relationship with grantees and provides more opportunities for our partners to thrive. We look forward to learning more about your work and receiving your feedback on this new approach and process.

If you have questions, please contact Community Arts Program Executive Margot Melcon.